Healthy family relationships are based on truth, which is established with trust and respect. But these values are being redefined and challenged by our culture.
Just in the last few years, the cultural definition of respect has altered drastically. It no longer means to highly regard or to honor someone or something, now it is just a general term that refers to praise or a simple ‘pat on the back’ and most of the time it is usually based on someone’s personal opinion.
Many young adults today adhere to this different view of respect rather than choosing the values of the previous generation. Character qualities that were once considered against society have been questioned, redefined and are now culturally justified. Values like – honoring older people and civil authority or being loyal to an employer or family traditions – have fallen away and have been replaced with an attitude of self-management.
When I was a teen, my dad modeled high standards, respect for authority, and reminded me that discipline is part of loving. He often quoted 1 Corinthians 6:12, “Everything may be permissible, but not everything is beneficial.” I can’t say I was the perfect teen, but I can say I had a wise dad who loved me and established in me a work ethic, and a caring spirit.
Today, my father is the typical outdoors-man, with a special love for the land and watching things grow. He loves the smell of apple trees and berries on a summer’s day, and the joy of teaching his grandchildren how to fish from a pond. He enjoys a simple life surrounded by God’s creation, and takes pride in his everyday work.
My sons are independent young adults, and I have caught myself quoting the same scripture verse to them. I have come to realize that just because something is lawful doesn’t make it beneficial for us. Teens and young adults need to know that God allows us to have an individual choice. Our choices will determine the values we instill in our relationships.
Respect is a reflection of our choices, and should not be defined by our culture but by our relationships.
If you want to learn more about our culture and how to navigate in it, you might be interested in reading Josh’s book, The Beauty of Intolerance.
Written by Donna Linquist, a former staff member of Josh McDowell Ministry and currently an elementary teacher. She lives in the Dallas area with her family and enjoys all kinds of creative arts and crafts.